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Is black good camouflage in the woods?

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So, some time ago, I started a Circle Orboros army. I like their fluff, like the way they play, and even though they're not considered among the top of the heap in Hordes factions, they usually bring a respectable showing. My main problem with the faction was that the particular tack I wanted to take with them - blackclads and constructs - didn't have enough early support to actually put out a sizable force. Fortunately, that's no longer the case.

The Sentry Stone and Mannikins aren't really all that exciting to me, but they're very functional (making more forests is what Circle loves most), and they do happen to be required in Baldur's theme force. Despite being rather simple models, I rather enjoyed painting them. The Mannikins got what you can probably guess is a relatively standard treatment with me - undercoat in Light Flesh, then washed over with a brown (in this case, Burnt Umber) to give them a weathered-wood look.



The Sentry Stone itself is taller and more spindly than the Standing Stones, but I decided to use Ceramcoat's Village Green to make it look like a limestone or marble edifice (the same color, incidentally, on the caber in my Kriel Warriors unit), with the carved areas inked in with a watered-down Christmas Green. A quick drybrush of CraftSmart Tan on the Mannikins, and their vines picked out in Sage Green, and the unit is good to go.



As for the other obelisk-shaped stone monuments in the Circle's arsenal... to go with my Standing Stones, I picked up their unit attachment, the Stone Keeper. I'm not sure about the whole "hey, I'm tall! Shoot at me!" deal with the sculpt, but it's not a bad sculpt overall, and man, did the unit need some of his abilities. (Even the extra CMD range is an immense boost to the Stones' playability).



But, on the subject of bad sculpts... I spent over a year painting the Druids of Orboros, and finally I reached a point where I just had to give up. It's difficult to believe these things weren't sculpted by meth addicts on a prison-to-work program. They're way too busy, with billowy cloaks that confuse the overabundance of fiddly detail all over these guys, and their poses, which I guess are meant to be "dynamic" just look silly on about half the poses. I know they're good models in the game, and the fluff is right up my alley, but I just couldn't bear to keep painting and painting trying to make them look good. They'll work on the table from several feet away, and that's all I can expect out of them. Even the Overseer officer attachment has his problems: he looks like someone who raided a flea market before showing up to fight.



Ugh.

On the bright side, Megalith, a Woldwatcher, and a Woldstalkers/Stoneward unit are due to arrive any day now. I've barely fielded this army whatsoever, and I'm looking forward to a change of pace.

Surprisingly not dormant.

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Despite the relative completely normal lack of activity here, I actually haven't been inactive as far as actual gaming goes. The Warmahordes scene at Indiana Sportscards, Comics & Gaming is picking up. (The manager joked he may have to get a new sign to move "Gaming" closer to the front of the list.) Here are some pics from the Steamroller tournament earlier today.


Round 1, Turn 1, before the carnage truly began.


Justin's Khador (which would ultimately win the day) faces off against Andrew's Magnus' Agenda force.


More of Justin's Khador (since he took the photos), this time facing down Rich's Magnus list. (An interesting duplication, to be sure. :D)


Serious business. (I, meanwhile, am unsuccessfully trying to backpedal out of the shot.)


Dwight's Everblight vs. Vic's Cryx. Both beautifully-painted forces, and a thematically appropriate match. It was hard to pick who to root for.

As I mentioned earlier, Justin took top prize with Karchev, while Dwight held a respectable second with a flurry of beasts led by Thagrosh's epic version. Andrew's Magnus slipped away with third, although with the bitter consolation that his win over epic!Stryker on round 2 was on points and not an assassination run that was just about to happen when the timer sounded.

Good turnout, good games. There will probably be another event at the end of the month. In the meantime, I have long-delayed Circle models to paint up, and a few additions on the way. I'm still a bit tempted by the idea of starting a Legion of Everblight force, which I try not to think about too much. :D

It's an easter egg, but with more fire.

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It's no secret that the Penny Arcade gang are now heavily into Warmachine. Even when they're not overtly talking about it, the influence is constantly there if you know where to look. Check out the foreground in the window in the middle panel of today's comic. [gleeful grin] Looks like a bunch of Protectorate heavy 'jacks (Crusaders, most likely) and what appear to be Flameguard, maybe even Cleansers. No doubt as to Gabe's loyalties. :D

Oh, and, hey, I have the Protectorate battle box, too!

Guns. We need lots of guns.

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Finally finished the Steelhead Riflemen for my Highborn Covenant.



I let a new player who's interested in mercenaries run a small force with Ashlynn and these guys, plus the Mule and the Talon. From what limited action they saw, they look decent but a little expensive in points for what they can do. They were probably designed to work in a more Steelhead-intensive force alongside Stannis Brocker. Then again, I may not have seen them at their best, given that they had two turns to live before Mulg trampled/ate his way through them to the sweet, chewy warcaster behind them. [grin]

TROLLBLOODS!

ronin
Yes, I know I put it off so long that it became a running gag, but I honestly do have a Trollbloods army beyond the Madrak warpack posted shortly after launch night for Hordes. I started, but haven't developed, a force around Grim Angus - which may, or may not, become a Gunnbjorn force when I get my hands on the newest warlock.



Now, leaving aside the fact that Angus' entire existence is an extended Front 242 reference (:D), Grim Angus is an amazing warlock... for an army that isn't Trollbloods. He really needs a shooty army to function, and there isn't much besides Pyg Bushwackers (or maybe Burrowers) to really capitalize on him. Maybe the forthcoming Slugger unit, but that still seems a bit more like Gunnbjorn's cuppa.

Because I like dire trolls so much, I ended up investing in Hoarluk Doomshaper's epic version. I may develop his own force, using the terra cotta cloth featured here to distinguish them much like Madrak's forest green.



Of course, where Hoarluk goes, trouble follows....



MULG! This bad boy is my first pinned model - his torso is held together with five brass rods (two at each shoulder, one connecting it to the waist). This is by necessity: that beatstick alone is as big and heavy as most trooper models, and even with the power of Gorilla Super Glue at my disposal, I wanted to make sure I never had to assemble Mulg the Ancient more than once.

As impressive as Mulg is, though, my favorite dire troll remains the Blitzer, the model whose concept art in Primal was the entire reason I decided to play Trollbloods at all.



It's a very fiddly model, though, and I've had to reattach the pyg gunner more than once, though [knock on wood] it hasn't come loose in two years, so I think I finally found an attachment scheme that works. The chains on the front required some modification to make them fit, so they don't look like a catalog standard model (but how many of mine do, anyway?)

Strangely, when the Pyre Troll was released, I was... underwhelmed. Compared even to the existing light warbeasts (at the time, the Axer and Impaler), this runt was minuscule; he's actually the size of a trollkin, not a full warbeast. Fortunately, he's still a nice-looking model, and went from statistically okay in MkI to an unsung badass in MkII. I put him in my army whenever possible.



More in line, size-wise, with the other Trollblood lights, the Bouncer has yet to make an appearance in my army list, though I'm a fan of the sculpt, at least. The stats and abilities just seem too niche-focused for the points expenditure until you hit at least 50-point games.



Of course, the rank-and-file of the kriels make it onto the table, too. The Kriel Warriors themselves are nothing to write home about, though there's some suggestion from PP that they'll end up with some amazing options the way Khador's Winter Guard ended up being a fleshed-out military organization with flexible builds available.



The standard unit gets much more impressive once you start adding their attachments. The Standard Bearer and Musician are nice...


...but the Caber Thrower is the awesome sauce (especially now that MkII weapon attachments can be included up to 3 per unit). I really enjoyed painting the model, too.


Back up the Kriel Warriors with a Fell Caller, and you're all set. Sonic spray attack? Buff abilities? Two swords with Weapon Master? Morale boost in a radius? Yes, please!


Although I typically have this guy hanging out right behind the Kriel Warriors, synergizing with their war priest's prayers, he makes a hell of a precision bomb in any Madrak list once the feat rolls out, and he can often mop up for Champions in a pinch.

Where am I going from here? Well, the Krielstone Bearer unit and attachment are going together as I write this, plus the Stone Scribe Chronicler (who will fill in for the Fell Caller for a point cheaper whenever my army composition gets a little too tight). As tempting as Capt. Gunnbjorn is, I'd have to go cherry-pick all the units that work well with him and with Grim Angus, which isn't much, and would require me to basically relearn all my habits based on standard Trollblood combat doctrine (run forward with your protective buffs, switch to offensive bonuses the turn you crash into the enemy, continue swinging until one of you is dead) to boot.

Plus, I have a Circle army to either finish or pass along in favor of Everblight's cold embrace. (What can I say? Bethayne and Belphegore look awesome.)

I remain undecided.

For Llael! The Highborn Covenant reforms

ronin
What's this? An update? Yes, slowly but surely, my new mercenary army is coming together. Once again, the Highborn Covenant has drawn me in - that sweet little minx Ashlynn d'Elyse just won't let me go. (Something about short blond hair.)

This isn't the first time I've painted some of these models - I started a Highborn contract years ago, then sold it off for a number of reasons. At the time, the army wasn't all that viable, but with the restructured merc contracts for the MkII Warmachine rules and a wider panoply of mercenary models to choose from, the Llaelese resistance looks like it might actually have a shot after all this time.



This time, Ashlynn is sporting a little sandier hair, and I tried blending several shades of purple (the normal color associated in fluff with Llael) on her clothes. You can see the effect much better in the first shot than in the second. After the experience of having her gun arm fall off of the last model, I learned my lesson and took great care to secure this model a bit more aggressively: there's a layered alloy of adhesives around the shoulder joints. The pose looks a little more naturalistic and dynamic this time, too.



Oh, Vanguard. You're so fluffy and useful rules-wise, but your model design is so fucking stupid. The flimsy legs that come with the model actually snapped at the ankle on both legs, so I replaced them with the much better legs from the Buccaneer (which you can see in the second shot). That damn guisarme is still a pain both for getting models in base contact and in trying to store or pack it for transport. I couldn't manage to get the model to hold the weapon vertically, which might have improved matters a bit. Overall, assembling this one damn model took me a month. A MONTH. And it wasn't my first time with a Vanguard, even.

That gray is a custom mix I made using Apple Barrel's Pewter Gray as a base, darkening it with black until it achieved a nice slate color. (The models look a little darker in person than in these photos thanks to the flash.) The theme for these Highborn mercs is a no-nonsense group of freedom fighters: vibrant colors are the exception rather than the rule, unlike the other Warmachine forces. The gray is highlighted with plain metal in most cases, though some golds and coppers are used for adornment to make the model pop just enough on the table. The Talon and other warjacks all get the same treatment.



The Talon is like the Rodney Dangerfield of warjacks: this plucky little bastard gets no respect. I've actually known people to buy the Magnus battle force and then get rid of their Talons. (If any of you out there are doing this, I'll take it!) Granted, it's no Renegade, but the Talon is a nimble little 'jack that can tie up something much bigger and nastier with its spear, which has Stall and Reach. Ashlynn can have a Talon zip across the field with Quicken, then replace it with Admonition so it can get into the rear arc and keep an enemy heavy tied up almost indefinitely.

Now that the Llaelese can take Amethyst Rose Gun Mages (albeit as proxy models), I could run the fluff-centered army I always wanted. It didn't hurt that Taryn di la Rovissi has actual rules now.



So fun to paint! Rather than make her stripperiffic with her corset, I decided to cover up a lot of the skin and put her in the standard uniform of the Amethyst Rose: mostly black with a white shirt, and purple accents on the holster and shoulder guards. Technically, she's an ex-Amethyst Rose, but there's no reason she might not still wear the clothes, right? Besides, it helps her blend in with the other gun mages.



Now, Llaelese fashion is rather different than Cygnaran couture. The tricorn hat and long coats aren't what actual ARGMs would be wearing. One intrepid modeler was showing off his appropriated Reapers of Alahan from the previous Confrontation edition as painted in the livery of the Llaelese gun mage on the PP forums, and they look spiffy, but if I want to play in officially sanctioned events, I've got to use standard PP models. Sometimes fluff has to give way to rules, y'know? The same accents were used here as on Taryn, with the addition of their shirt buttons (gold) and swords (steel on the troops, gold on the officer - see below for more detail on her).



And speaking of officers, no gun mage unit would be complete without "The Dude".



Be warned, mercenary players; unlike the other gun mages, he's got a couple of Cygnaran insignia on him (one on his bandolier badge, the other on one shoulder guard). A quick file job takes care of those. Unfortunately, Llael can't take the Gun Mage Captain Adept solo, but Taryn more than makes up for it in terms of assassination runs, and the officer here can marshal a 'jack and give it a Rune Shot.

In progress: a Mule (which will get attached to the gun mages), Harlan Versh, and a full unit of the spiffy new Steelhead Riflemen.
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Here's some footage from the Warmachine/Hordes tournament that I went to a couple of weeks ago.

I swear, the lack of activity here hasn't been due to lack of painting - if anything, the backlog just keeps growing.

Here are shots of my AT-43 army to tide you over. Coming soon: Trolls and Highborn Covenant.


My forces in array: this works out to just about a platoon, with a little room to add on.


The Baal Golgoth, heaviest hitter in my army. If any piece deserves some repainting, it's this one.


A unit of Bane Goliaths. Walking ordnance.


Assault Goliaths. Great for tearing up enemy armor.


Overseer Sigma Urash, and the Incubus Golgoth reserved for his alternate form.


Nina Zero and her custom Golgoth, Babylon Zero.


A Wraith Golgoth, flanked by a Hekat (left) and Succubus (right).


Overseer Omega Tiamat. One bad lady.

Infestation: primary response.

ronin
Squad Lorenzo, the first team of Terminators to enter the derelict to face the Genestealers.



There are too many colors in play here to list them all, and much of it uses standard techniques I've discussed before. The red armor is entirely done with Apple Barrel's Cardinal Crimson, using glazing (four or five very thin, watery layers to build up a rich pigment without gooping up the details).

Prepare weaponry. Begin the Litanies of Hatred. Praise the Emperor.

Infestation: initial outbreak.

ronin
After staying up most of the night painting, then sleeping, then getting up and going straight to the painting table again, the first wave of Genestealers are done.



Colors: CraftSmart Plum for the flesh, Apple Barrel Royal Violet for the carapace, washed detail with Apple Barrel Night Sky, tongues painted with Anita's Nautical Blue, claws and pointy bits drybrushed with FolkArt Vintage White.

A few more, including the Broodlord, along with the Blood Angels, still to come.
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I know, I swore off Games Workshop entirely some time ago.

Then, Space Hulk came out.

I'm now painting Terminators and Genestealers, so expect updates as they progress.



(I haven't forgotten about the terrain articles, either; there are pics of further progress saved on my computer, but I moved since last post, and much of my material is still in disarray.)

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